Getting down to business with serious focus can be particularly difficult for creative people—especially during the holidays! Between fun, family, friends, (and food!), there are SO many distractions this time of year.

Creatives, like me, often deal with different kinds of focusing problems. Sometimes our heads are so full of ideas we end up working on seven projects at once. Or sometimes we shift our focus from project to project without taking the time to prioritize. Or sometimes we just get antsy and our creative minds need some time to get out and play!

The good news: Creative people—like you—can stay focused (despite the holidays).

The not-so-good news: It’s going to take some effort on your part. (…but you can do it!)

Creative AND Productive: Tips on Time

First and foremost, creatives often overlook the importance of setting realistic expectations. As we mentioned last week, it’s important to write your daily To Do list and always prioritize your top three To Do items. Creatives should put some extra thought into this process. Ask yourself, Can I realistically complete this To Do list today?—and—Do I have too many To Do items on my list?***

As you complete more and more daily To Do lists, you’ll begin to realize the pace at which you’re capable of completing projects. Pay attention to your productivity cycles.

It’s also important to value your time. This means eliminating all that multi-tasking. (Admit it—it’s not working anyway.) Also, consider delegating specific tasks that are either not in your skill set, take too long for little return, and/or are typically worth paying someone else to complete for you. Remember: you simply can’t do everything.

Better time management means better quality work, happier clients/customers, less stress, and more business growth. So go ahead and make that New Year’s resolution to hone in on your time management skills. In the long run, you’ll be amazed how much more focused you are throughout the day. Say hello to that long-lost productivity!

Finding Your Balance

Balance is especially important for creatives. Balance can mean different things for different creative individuals. For most people, balance refers to whatever activities and practices you do every day that contribute to your physical and mental well-being.

So, if exercising three times a week makes you feel awesome—that’s a balance activity. Same goes for spending quality time with your family in the evening, going out to eat with a friend once a week, or regularly attending networking events.

Some balance ideas for creatives…

  1. Play…with Doh! When you’re feeling distracted, or when you feel yourself slipping into multi-tasking mode, (or maybe you’re a bit spaced out)—take a break and mold something fun! If you work at the computer all day, Play-Doh is a great way to do something else with your hands, while giving your brain a chance to regroup and go.
  2. Take a Walk. Bouncing around between projects, never settling on one? Having a mental block and you just can’t get started? You need a change of scenery. Bonus points for fresh air and exercise.
  3. Flax for Focus. Some health professionals suggest incorporating ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil (rich in omega-3 fatty acids) into a healthy diet may improve brain function, memory, and focus.
  4. Disconnect. Working offline will help you avoid those frequent (sometimes compulsive) desires to check your email, scroll through social media, or get distracted by your favorite web comic.
  5. Reboot. Meditation is another great way to refresh your mind and your focus. If your brain won’t stop rambling, try adding some yoga or gentle stretching.

All of these are examples of balance activities, but you need to discover what’s right for YOU. Hey, the New Year is fast approaching—so sit down and write up a list of YOUR balance activities. Then resolve to MAKE TIME to ensure you’ll continue with that productivity all throughout 2013.


What’s your favorite balance activity or time management tip? Let us know in the comments!


*** Creatives are more likely to get caught over-promising and under-delivering—when they should be under-promising and over-delivering instead. (As a creative business owner, I can relate: we want to give our clients the world, but sometimes we simply take on too many projects at once!)


Check out our previous posts on The Branding Spot blog: Dealing with Distractions  and Focus from the Get-Go for boatloads of focusing tips you don’t want to miss!